The San Francisco 49ers’ season notwithstanding, anything less than a Super Bowl victory is a failure. It’s old fashion, but making the playoffs is not success.
Those of us who lived in the 1980s understand. Would Joe Montana consider it a “good” season if he made the playoffs? Would Bill Walsh gloat in the press of his tremendous team if they lost in the playoffs? Would Eddie DeBartolo have settled for making the playoffs?
The answer is a simple and resounding NO! Maybe it’s because of my own chosen profession, but coming in second is not a successful outcome. My clients don’t pay me to come in second.
In the 49ers case the bar was set a longtime ago by great teams who did not settle for anything less than a championship ring. Second place is for those other inferior teams, like Dallas. Nothing less than a World Championship will suffice for a true Niner fan.
The great thing about Jed York, as an owner, is that he understands this bar. The great owners will never settle for anything less than a championship ring. People may not have liked Al Davis, George Steinbrenner and my personal villain of all-time, Jerry Jones, but these folks never considered anything less than a championship a successful season.
If you have a mentality that allows for second place success, you will always come in second place.
That said, these 49ers are a different team than the 1980s. And while the coaching staff and defense have a chance to bring home the sixth Super Bowl trophy in franchise history, they are still a quarterback away from greatness. Anybody who has watched Alex Smith play, even this year, understands that simple fact. If Aaron Rodgers had been drafted instead of Smith, the Niners would not have to suffer sub-zero temperatures in Green Bay should they be successful on January 14.
Don’t get me wrong; not everybody can be successful. In fact, only one of 32 teams can match the lofty goals that were achieved long ago by Montana, Lott, Walsh, Rice, etc. Clearly, the 49ers are on the path to that success, and I would like nothing better than for Smith to prove me wrong and to celebrate in Indianapolis this year. (Note to Alex: consider it a challenge.)
But more importantly than this season is the fact that a Super Bowl will be played in Santa Clara, at the team’s new stadium, in the very near future. It should be the goal of this franchise to make sure it is a home game for the 49ers, just like 1984. There is no victory as sweet as winning a World Championship on your home turf.
Are you listening, Sharks?
Rich Robinson is a political consultant and author of “The Shadow Candidate”. He is currently under contract with the High-Speed Rail Authority.